Yes, I’m taking a break from work this week!
But I just wanted to make one quick correction on something from the sermon yesterday on “Reassurance.”
The Bible verse I cited in the section “I need reassurance about me” should have been Jeremiah 31:20, not Isaiah 31:20. Thanks to Ryan Walker for that catch!
Jeremiah 31:20 —
“Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him,” declares the Lord.
Ephraim is another name for Israel. Here, God, after spending much time recounting Israel’s sins, says that, nevertheless, He yearns for His wayward people and has compassion on them.
Dane Ortlund, in his book Gentle and Lowly (another one of yesterday’s bloopers!), reminds us that the word for “heart” in Jeremiah 31:20 is literally a reference, in Hebrew, to “bowels.” In other words, God concern and love for His children is churns deep within Him.
Ortlund puts it this way: “God’s saving of you is not cool and calculating. It is a matter of yearning – and not yearning for the Facebook you, the you that you project to everyone around you. It’s God’s yearning for the real you, the you underneath everything you present to others. We are the cool and calculating ones, not God. We feel it’s right to be stern with ourselves — not let ourselves off the hook easily – and so we see God in the same way. Such sternness feels appropriate and serious. But it also deflects God’s yearning heart which is the Bible’s description about how God feels toward His own.” (Gentle and Lowly, p. 166).
I hope that offers you some reassurance. Yesterday’s sermon is on the Crossroads Facebook page if you missed it or would like to recommend it to a friend.
- Don’t forget to sign up to bring food for the Easter breakfast we’ll enjoy on April 17. Michaela will have a sign-up sheet again this Sunday, or you can contact her at 417-684-3118.
- On Sunday evening, April 3, at 7 pm, I’ll be offering some helps for preparing a sermon. Everyone is welcome. I hope the Lord will raise up some lay preachers and teachers from among us. And you might be encouraged in your own personal study of the Bible.
- Jason Burrows, seminary student at Midwestern Seminary in Kansas City, will preach this coming Sunday. You’ll enjoy meeting Jason.
- Mark Sunday, April 24th, on your calendar. We’re invited to an evening of fellowship, music, and games at Nevada Assembly of God starting at 5 pm. More details coming.
- Thank you for your prayers for events happening in Europe and Russia. We praise God that the Vestals have received good news concerning Misha, Kristina, and baby Matthew. Due to a medical disability, Misha will be able to accompany the family out of Ukraine very soon to Poland and then beyond. Please continue to keep them in your prayers.
I received the following today from a friend and former Evangelical Free Church missionary colleague. I hope you’ll take the time to read it. I believe it will encourage you for the week ahead. I look forward to seeing you this Sunday morning at 10:00!
More than anything else I desire to be faithful to the end of my life – faithful to God, faithful to His Word, faithful to my calling, faithful to my family, and faithful to my responsibilities. Of course, I haven’t always lived up to this desire. In fact, to be honest with you there have been times I could “have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith” (1 Timothy 1:19), but God was watching over me. I love David’s prayer in Psalm 14:14: “Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil so that I take part in wicked deeds along with those who are evildoers; do not let me eat their delicacies.” In all things, God is our deliverer, and we are wise to seek His power over sin.
The Bible has many examples of those who began well, but became unfaithful later in life. These examples bring home to us the danger that we are all in. For example, there is the account of King Uzziah who began his reign at age 16 and was faithful for many years. “But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense.” (2 Chronicles 26:16.)
“We are called to serve the Lord faithfully not just in the big things that people see but in the little things that few, if anyone, see. Life is made up mostly of little things like making dinner, washing dishes, talking to a neighbor, or changing a diaper. Most of our faithfulness to the Lord is striving to be faithful in the little things of life. We know that God always sees. He sees the big things we do, and He sees the little things we do, and as our heavenly Father He cares about them all. He sees and rewards (Matthew 25:21), as long as our motives are right and we are not practicing our righteousness before others in order to be seen by them (Matthew 6:1-4).” (Burk Parsons)
“Smaller victories along the way: Slow plodding between these victories is the pattern, not the exception. We live day to day, not miracle to miracle. And there is something wonderful about the ordinary days and years spent between the high points. They are where the story is lived out and character development takes place.” (Matt Rhodes)
The faithfulness of God is true and has been proven many times. In the Holy Scriptures, we can see that God is faithful and His Word is true. Hebrews 6:18 says God cannot lie, nor can He break an unconditional promise that He says He will fulfill. Every covenant He made is kept. Every promise or foretelling has or will come true. Testimony after testimony of God’s faithfulness is certainly found throughout the Bible and is still given in testimonies by people today. In fact, accounts of covenants between God and His people can be found approximately 277 times in the Bible. Deuteronomy 7:9 says “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.”
Jesus was faithful in everything. He obeyed every jot and title of the law, and He died on the cross for our unfaithfulness to Him. Our ultimate hope is not in our complete and utter faithfulness to Him but in the faithfulness of the One who has called us to rest in Christ by His grace and for His glory.