~ Click on this link for today's readings ~
Jeremiah 6:16-8:7 ~ Colossians 2:8-23
Psalm 78:1-31 ~ Proverbs 24:26
Old Testament - Today in Jeremiah chapter 6 verse 16 we read - "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” I love these verses! It reminds me that on a daily basis each of us is standing at a crossroads. A crossroads of where the world would have us go and where God would have us go. I too often realize that I am taking the worldly path and not the ancient path. "Ask where the good way is" - Do you do this in your life? How often? I think we can best do this through prayer. "Ask, and you shall receive" we have learned from Jesus. Do we ask Jesus in prayer where the good way is? Then, do we walk in it? And the reward for walking in it is - "you will find rest for your souls." I like this a lot! Who doesn't want rest for our souls? Is your soul at rest today? Why or why not? If your soul is not at rest, is it possible that you are walking along the wrong path? The worldly path? Will you seek instead the ancient paths? The good Way? Will you find rest for your soul?
New Testament - Colossians chapter 2 verse 8 is a teaching from Paul that reminds me so much of our modern world today... "Don't let anyone lead you astray with empty philosophy and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the evil powers of this world, and not from Christ." Have you ever heard anyone in our world today offer you empty philosophy or high-sounding nonsense? I know I have... And perhaps I've even preached it on occasion in my past too. Scary stuff. There is stuff out there today that does indeed come from human thinking - not divine thinking - and from the evil powers of this world - not from Christ. I think we need to prayerfully be so vigilant to protect ourselves from these empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense. I almost hesitate to write this... but I am feeling like I should. I think we need to even watch out for empty philosophy and high-sounding nonsense in some churches today too. I really don't mean to be divisive to the body of Christ, the church, by saying this. But I say this for our own good - for brothers and sisters in Christ. One thing that I have seen in churches on occasion that has alarmed me is what I'll call "the cult of personality" around a pastor. Meaning, I think it can reach a point in a church where there is an unhealthy fixation on a pastor or minister. Don't get me wrong. We'll all probably have a favorite pastor or minister or priest. But let us be cautious if ever our devotion to a pastor surpasses (or gets anywhere near) our devotion to Jesus. It's then when the "cult of personality" can lead to empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense invading our hearts and minds. Maybe there is someone out there that needs to hear this... Just pray about it to Jesus if ever you feel that you are paying more attention to a pastor / priest / anybody than you are paying to Jesus. And ask Jesus what he would have you do. Perhaps it would be to move on to another church... A church where Jesus is clearly preached, worshiped, and followed. Trust me, there are multitudes of churches out there where Jesus is clearly the cornerstone. Make sure Jesus is clearly the cornerstone of your church.
I absolutely love the imagery Paul uses in verse 11 today: "When you came to Christ, you were "circumcised," but not by a physical procedure. It was a spiritual procedure--the cutting away of your sinful nature." The cutting away of your sinful nature! Isn't that profound to think about? It almost makes me feel 100 pounds lighter spiritually just thinking about it... Our old sinful nature was an old beast of a thing that bogged us down. Makes us slow. Makes us groggy. Keeps us foggy. But - Jesus can take the scissors of spiritual circumcision and cut away that old sinful nature! Doesn't this make you feel 100 pounds lighter to think about this? Doesn't this thought of cutting away the sinful nature make you want to never want to put on that old musty moldy deadly suit of sin every again? Let us be free instead! Has Jesus circumcised you spiritually? Has Jesus cut away your sinful nature once and for all? This all makes me think about butterfly coming out of its cocoon about to take flight... Let us fly!
Psalms - Psalm 78 verse 4 is a wonderful reminder that we have an important opportunity to disciple and teach others in the generation coming up behind us - "We will not hide these truths from our children but will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD. We will tell of his power and the mighty miracles he did." Are you discipling or teaching someone about God's truth, deeds, and love? How are you helping the next generation learn about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit?
Proverbs - Interesting Proverb in chapter 24 verse 26 today - "It is an honor to receive an honest reply." This is an interesting Proverb to me because it almost seems to be inferring that it is rare to receive an honest reply! It wouldn't really be an honor to receive an honest reply if that was standard operating procedure, would it? This is actually a bit frightening to think about - that perhaps many / most replies we receive are not honest? I think there is truth in this... I'll have to chew on it a bit more. I will say this - how about if you and I make it a practice to give honor to others in our lives by giving them an honest reply! Let us be truth-tellers!
Comments from you - What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!