Thursday, December 8, 2011

YOU HAVE A REPUTATION OF BEING ALIVE, BUT YOU ARE DEAD.

WAKE UP.  STRENGTHEN WHAT REMAINS
AND IS ABOUT TO DIE.
A. Brother

“I remember the devotion of your youth,
how as a bride you loved Me,
and followed Me through the desert…
My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken Me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that can hold no water.”
--Jer. 2:2,13

            These words Jeremiah spoke to the people of God are alive today.  The same Spirit who came upon the prophet those years ago is speaking them, and they are coming straight from the heart of God, who never changes.
          Do we pretend, as Israel and Judah did then, to follow the Lord and seek His counsel, yet go our own ways?
          Have we forsaken the only Spring of Living Water, the Lord Jesus, and dug ourselves cisterns (water tanks in the ground) that we hope will hold the runoff from the world to sustain us, yet are full of holes that always leave us dry?
          Oh, people called by God, where are you?

“You have defiled the land with your prostitution and wickedness,
Therefore the showers have been withheld,
and no spring rains have fallen.”
--Jer. 3:2,3

            You are caught up in the world, and its ways.  You have given out your favors to those who worship other gods, who are not gods at all, but idols of wood and stone.  You are drinking from other rivers and other streams, spreading your legs to be taken by anyone who desires you.  You are giving yourselves to adulterous affairs with the world, chasing after what they chase after, hungering and thirsting after what they hunger and thirst for.
         
“How gladly would I treat you like sons and give you a desirable land,
the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.”                 
 --Jer. 3:19

            Your Father has not forgotten you.  He has always wanted to treat you as His own sons and daughters, giving you a far greater inheritance than what you think He wants for you.  He is rich, with storehouses of inexhaustible treasures available for you.  Yet you scavenge in the garbage, trying desperately to build a life in the slums.
Your Father has an inheritance waiting, yet you have left Him to seek after crumbs from the world’s table.
          You have forsaken your Family, your Holy Nation, and instead of being set apart for your Father’s purposes, you have run and hidden yourself among a people who don’t care about you, and will abandon you when you most need them.
         
          Come back today.  Your Father will never forget you.  At this moment, He is looking upon you with love, hoping you will come home.

“I thought you would call Me ‘Father’ and not turn away from following Me…
Return, faithless people; I will cure you of your backsliding.” 
 --Jer. 3:19,22

            Your Father is holding out His arms to you.  You are a man or woman who has the form of religion, doing all the right things, being decent, going to church, filling all the obligations of a worldly life, yet having no power, no love, and you are running dry.
          You are in pain, and you suffer every day from the loneliness of being separated from your Father, and long somewhere down inside for the power of the Spirit to break the bonds that hold you to these empty pursuits.
          You long for the true people of God, for true Family with those who are “called out and set apart to be together”.  You long to love and cherish your Lord and King, but have given yourself to others, and feel bound by those loves.
         
          God will break your bonds today if you choose.

“’Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the Lord,
‘I will frown on you no longer,
for I am merciful,’ declares the Lord,
‘I will not be angry forever. 
Only acknowledge your guilt—
you have rebelled against the Lord your God,
you have scattered your favors
to foreign gods under every spreading tree,
and have not obeyed Me.’ “ 
--Jer. 3:12,13

            The Lord Himself remembers you.  He formed you and made you to be His own, and will never forget you, though your own parents forget you.  He is not like men, and will not be faithless.  He holds you in high esteem, and His love will never dim for you.  He will not wait forever, but seeks you out to discipline you and challenge you today, so listen and hear.
          You must forsake your life the way you live it.
          You must leave your worldly agendas, and the empty forms of religion you are relying upon, and quit trying to find your protection and peace aside from your Father.  He will never tolerate double-mindedness, and you will not wear Him down with your stubbornness. 
          God is not a man that you can deceive, or twist, or confuse.  He is not a man that you can work to your own desires.  He is God, the eternal, unchanging--the God who Is.  He is the Rock, and you must build upon Him or perish.

“Yes, we will come to You, for You are the Lord our God. 
Surely the idolatrous commotion
on the hills and mountains is a deception;
surely in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel
From our youth shameful gods
have consumed the fruits of our fathers’ labor—
their flocks and herds, their sons and daughters.
We have sinned against the Lord our God,
both we and our fathers;
from our youth until this day
we have not obeyed the Lord our God.”                
--Jer. 3:22-25

            Brothers and sisters who claim to be God’s people, this must be our prayer.  We are His people, but we have forsaken Him for other gods.  We have followed the gods of comfort, money and lust.  We have listened to the world and its ideas until we are so caught up in the deceptions and lies we cannot distinguish between them and God’s truth.  We are lost, though we sing, and praise, and do church, and live busy lives. 
          It is we who are faithless, like faithless Israel.  It is our backsliding that must be cured.

“Break up your unplowed ground
and do not sow among thorns.
Circumcise yourselves to the Lord,
circumcise your hearts, you men of Judah
and people of Jerusalem, or my wrath
will break out and burn like fire
because of the evil you have done—
burn with no one to quench it.”                                                
--Jer. 4:3,4

            Will you continue in your worldly ways today?
          Will you resist the Holy Spirit when He talks to you?
          Don’t do that.  God will never force His way upon you.  He is not a man that needs to beg and plead, to cleverly convince, to ‘wheel and deal’ with you.  He is not in business.  He is God, and His Word to you stands forever.  He does not change, but demands that you change, so you can receive what He has for you.
          Circumcise your hearts.  That means be marked with His mark of ownership, forsaking all others and being set apart from the world.  You must not do things the way you’ve done them before.  You must not think you can say a prayer of contrition and then continue on your way.
          Today is the day you are being called to do something entirely new.
          To follow Jesus, no matter the cost.
          God is doing what He’s doing, and you must join Him in it, or be left behind.

          God remembers you.
          Will you be like those who look in the mirror and then walk away forgetting?
          Will you be assigned a place with the hypocrites on that Day?

“I know your deeds, you have a reputation
of being alive, but you are dead. 
Wake up!  Strengthen what remains and is about to die,
for I have not found your deeds complete
in the sight of My God.
Remember therefore,
what you have received and heard;
obey it, and repent. 
But if you do not wake up,
I will come like a thief,
and you will not know
at what time I will come to you.”                                                                                       
--Rev. 3:1-3

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