Friday, December 24, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
Jeremiah was left behind in Jerusalem when the Babylonians dragged the "cream" of Israel's leaders off into exile. But God had Jeremiah write to them, encouraging them to make the most their situation at the "rivers of Babylon."
The unthinkable concept in his letter was that God had a plan for them. Could that be possible? Could they come back from exile with a revived and revitalised faith that was not centred on the temple but the Word of God? Between Jeremiah (in Israel) and Ezekiel (with the exiles) God transformed His people and brought them back after 70 years.
Could God have had a plan with an unlikely people?
History says He did.
Does God have a plan for humanity?
Yes He does!
It was revealed in a babe born in Bethlehem.
But Nathanael wasn't sure: "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" (Try the Saviour of the World!...)
Philip (just NOT getting it) said "Just show us the Father," and Jesus said "If you've seen me, You've seen Him."
God works in unlikely and unusual ways - may your hearts be open to Him this Christmas. For Christmas truly is an "Advent" in that it sneaks up on us with stories of stables, journeys, gifts and the earthy way in which it all takes place. But there is wonder for all who would open their eyes to His great love!
That brings us to the end of the eDevs for this year as I will be on leave next week.
Hope the eDevs have been a great blessing and help to you this year!
Have a blessed CHRISTmas!
God bless and Much love
Thursday, December 2, 2010
"Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom
or the strong man boast of his strength
or the rich man boast of his riches,
24 but let him who boasts boast about this:
that he understands and knows me,
that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,"
declares the LORD. Jeremiah9:23-24
Isn't it interesting how our gifts (wisdom, strength and riches) which are really gifts and blessings from above are the very things that distract us from Him?
Why is this? Did God make a mistake in blessing us with gifts? No! We can't blame God's generosity, but rather our lack of humility and gratitude. Even my talents are from Him!
Jeremiah gives us three measures for boast-worthiness: kindness, justice and righteousness.
Think about it: These are the things that really matter.
Kindness = love, graciousness, compassion
Justice = how we treat others (equality, fairness, protect the weak)
Righteousness = all about internal integrity
All three of the above are needed if we are to be of any substance.
There are two kinds of boasting: The kind where people take credit where it isn't due, and the kind where credit is given to the one to whom it _is_ due. When it comes to the measures of kindness, justice and righteousness there is only God who remains standing.
We do better thinking highly of Him than thinking highly of ourselves!
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Sometimes we kick against God's laws and requirements because we suspect He is out to spoil our fun... Jeremiah gives us another perspective:
The Queen of Heaven was Ishtar, a Babylonian idol. As the Hebrews worshipped her, they descended into immorality and decadence. It was an affront to the holiness and glory of the one true God.
But is just that God is dishonoured by idolatry - it is us who are harmed! High on God's agenda is His loving desire to protect us from the consequences of giving in to our sinful nature.
- worship false gods, we take on their values (fear, excess, greed)
- commit adultery, we damage trust, loyalty and self-image and risk health
- abuse substances, we damage our bodies
- refuse to rest, we risk break-down
- don't honour our parents, we become unhealthy members of society
- desire other people's stuff, we become unsatisfy-able.
and so on.
God wants us to grow into all that He created us to be.
Sin deforms and destroys us - it drives God crazy because He loves us.
The last point here is the very sad picture of the whole family being dragged into this: children, fathers and mothers. How many families will go Christmas shopping on a Sunday morning instead of being in church? It breaks God's heart when this happens and He wants to protect us and our families from ourselves.