Do The Wicked Prosper? 

Jeremiah 12:1-2
“​ Righteous are You, O Lord, when I plead with You; Yet let me talk with You about Your judgments. Why does the way of the wicked prosper?”

Jeremiah’s question interests me because it seem to be the opposite of what God is accused of today. How many times have we heard someone ask, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” The inference is that good, innocent even righteous people are being mistreated by a vengeful and unfair God. Jeremiah had a different perspective, he saw God as a righteous judge and realized that men were sinners. This led him to wonder why it was that wicked people were prospering.

In any situation in life, if we are going to effectively problem solve we have to accuratly diagnose the problem. If a doctor misdiagnosis a person he will also fail to prescribe the proper treatment. If a mechanic misdiagnosis the problem with the engine he will replace the wrong part and if we continue to place blame on God for the wicked actions of men we will never really find a cure. When we backslide and get involved in things God specifically tells us to avoid we cannot then turn and ask why God has allowed this to happen to us. We must take responsibility for wandering from the Lord and into harmful things. The way of escape will be found when we turn from our wanderings and begin again to follow closely after Christ.

Sometimes it is difficult to trust the Lord because we see others who have chosen not to follow Christ going through life without many of the difficulties we are struggling through. If you feel that way, you are not alone. The psalmist wrote that it was the carefree lifestyle of the wicked that caused him to question the value of trusting in the Lord. All that changed for him when he looked passed the immediate and considered their end. Jesus explained that there are only two roads in life. One leads to eternal life, the other to judgment. The question is not how difficult the roads might be, but where they are ultimately taking us. Instead of being discouraged by the hardships you are currently facing, look to the end of the road and the glory that awaits all who trust in Christ.

Jim

Consider God

Psalms 10:4
“The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.”

The Psalmist points out at least four characteristics of the wicked. First, he declares that they do not think about God. One of the surest ways to live a life that pleases the Lord is to consider Him before you act. If you take the time to ask yourself, “What does God think about this?” you will find that you begin to make better and wiser decisions.

Psalms 10:5 “His ways are always prospering; Your judgments are far above, out of his sight…”

The Bible was designed to be a light for our path. It’s purpose is to be a guide instructing us to live a life that will be rewarded by God. One of the keys to successful living is to familiarize ourselves with its contents. The better you know the Word, the easier it becomes to make decisions that please the Lord. The wonderful thing about the Bible is that the Spirit of God empowers the word of God. In other words, we are not left to our own strength to do what the Bible says. As we read it, we are transformed by it and find ourselves living according to it.

Psalms 10:11 “He has said in his heart, ‘God has forgotten; He hides His face; He will never see.’”

It is amazing what we will do if we don’t think anyone is watching us. It is not uncommon to catch a person singing along to a favorite song in the car. They have lost sight of the fact that others can see them. When they realize that another car has pulled up next to them, they are filled with embarrassment. When we realize God watches everything we do, we will be much more careful not to misbehave when we are alone.

Psalms 10:13 “Why do the wicked renounce God?  He has said in his heart, ‘You will not require an account.’”

The end of every road is the throne of God. One day we will all stand before Him, to give an account for the life we lived. If we keep this fact in the forefront of our minds, it will effect every area of our lives.
Let us remember the Lord and live our life according to His ways.

Pastor Jim

 

 

You Are Not alone 

Ecclesiastes 9:2
“All things come alike to all: One event happens to the righteous and the wicked; to the good, the clean, and the unclean; to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As is the good, so is the sinner; he who takes an oath as he who fears an oath.”

Solomon spent his life as a student of human behavior. He appeared to be on a quest to find meaning and purpose to life. His observations led him to the conclusion that trials, or difficulties, are the lot of all men; both the righteous and the wicked experience times of sorrow, pain and suffering. When a tornado strikes a town, it makes no distinction between the believer or the unbeliever. Cancer strikes the godly, as well as the ungodly. Christians and non-Christians have both lost their jobs due to tough economic times. If there is no difference between the ailments that we suffer, what is the benefit of living a life committed to Christ?

First, there are great promises given to the child of God, in the midst of the difficulties he or she is enduring. We are promised the peace of God will sustain us, and the strength of God will carry us through. One of the most attractive aspects of a relationship with Christ is the peace He provides, in the midst of the storms of life. I have known believers who are facing intense trials, yet they are guarded within by the perfect peace, which flows from God.

In addition to peace, the child of God understands, there is purpose behind the suffering. Difficulties are not meaningless, but rather become tools in the hand of God to build character, to provide opportunities, and to give to others the light of the Gospel of Christ. Paul found himself in prison, where he celebrated the goodness of God, and by doing so, won others to faith in Christ. We cannot always understand why we are suffering, but we can look for ways by which God will be glorified in our trying times.

The believer also realizes trials are temporary. While they may seem to last forever, they are in fact transient and will be over soon. Some run their course in this life. We may even have a difficult time remembering some of the things we suffered a year ago. Other trials may follow us throughout the course of this life, but will not follow us into eternity. Whatever difficulties we have now, the Christian can be sure they will not plague us in eternity.

Whatever you might be facing, allow me to encourage you to trust Christ and cling to His promises. There is no reason you should have to walk this journey alone. There is a Savior who wants to comfort and strengthen you, if you will trust your life into His care.

Pastor Jim

 

Searchlight 

Psalm 139:23-24
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.”

In this portion of the Psalm, David prays three things: search me, try me and lead me. These are very interesting requests in light of what he has previously declared concerning God.

Lord, You have searched me and known me.” Psalm 139:1

In beautiful, poetic fashion, David declared there is nothing hidden from the all-seeing eye of God. He knows when we rise up and when we lie down. He knows our thoughts before we think them, and every word that leaves our lips. He knows the paths we choose to walk and where those roads will lead us. Our loving God thinks about us constantly, and no matter where we go, we cannot escape His peering gaze. The question that requires our attention is, if David knew that God has already searched him and known him, why pray “Search me…” ?

It seems to me, since David knew that God could see through all his disguises, he was actually removing the masks and allowing God to reveal what he was really like. He is asking God to reveal to him the things God knows are wrong with him, and to provide the divine help necessary to change. To use a modern phrase, our lives need to be an open book. Not only open, allowing the Lord to examine our hearts (after all, He sees all whether we try to hide it or not), but an open book, allowing the Lord to write upon the tablets of our hearts.

Have you laid open your whole life to the Lord and asked Him to examine you, and bring about the change that He desires? Take for example your private life, those moments when no one else is around; allow God to orchestrate what they should look like, and what needs to be removed. Or perhaps, your family life. All too often, we parent the way we were parented, rather than looking into the Word, at the example of our Heavenly Father, and seeking to have Him as our model. We must come to the place where, like David, we lay open our lives before the Lord, and allow Him to examine us with His loving gaze. When we do, we will find that His Word has much to say regarding our private life, family life, social life, and even our church life. Charles Spurgeon put it like this, “Like a Pharos, this holy song casts a clear light even to the uttermost parts of the sea, and warns us against that practical atheism which ignores the presence of God, and so makes shipwreck of the soul.”

A true believer is willing to be tried by God.

Pastor Jim

 

Rise And Shine 

1 Samuel 1:3
“This man went up from his city yearly to worship and sacrifice to the Lord of hosts in Shiloh…”

1 Samuel opens by introducing us to Elkanah. We learn he was a godly man who was devoted to the Lord. We read he loved his family and sought to lead them in the things of the Lord. He made annual trips to Shiloh, to celebrate the feasts of the Lord. Time, money, or inconvenience was never used as an excuse to keep him from bringing his family to worship the Lord. However, Elkanah’s life was not without hardship. His wife Hannah was barren, and no matter what he did to express his love to her, she felt as though there was something missing. She longed for a child and he longed to make her happy.

His example is all the more powerful when we keep in mind the spiritual climate in Israel at the time. We read twice in Judges, there “was no king in Israel and everyone did what was right in their own eyes” (Judges 17:6, 21:25). In other words, the people had left the Word of God and were doing whatever they thought would make them happy. We read of spiritual confusion and social unrest throughout the land. Even the priesthood was being affected, as men were serving the Lord only as a means to make money and obtain power.

Elkanah chose to live above the standards set by those around him. He chose to put God first in his life and in his family. He made it a practice to bring his family to worship, and to be obedient to the Word. As the spiritual climate around us becomes more and more foggy, it is critical that we commit ourselves, our ways, and our families to follow the Lord.

Pastor Jim