pastor

Jeremiah Spared

“But I will deliver you on that day,” declares the LORD, “and you shall not be given into the hand of the men whom you dread. For I will certainly rescue you, and you will not fall by the sword; but you will have your own life as booty, because you have trusted in Me,” declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 39:17-18 NASB)

This happened when the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem. For three years the Babylonians had surrounded the city. When they were finally able to breach the city walls, thousands were slaughtered, Solomon’s Temple was destroyed, its treasure taken as ransom, King Zedekiah’s eyes were gouged out, his children killed, and he was taken captive along with most of Jerusalem’s residents. But for Jeremiah, we have this strange account:

Now Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had given these orders about Jeremiah through Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard: “Take him and look after him; don’t harm him but do for him whatever he asks.” (Jer 39:11-12)

Look after him. We are not told why Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, would have such high regard for Jeremiah. A pagan king. A Jewish prophet. Jeremiah was protected. And this during the most tumultuous events in the history of the tiny nation of Judah. Thousands were slaughtered, the city burned, the temple destroyed, the people exiled.

God’s servants have always enjoyed divine protection as they faithfully do God’s work in the world. No harm shall befall them as they accomplish their divine appointments until that day when called into God’s presence they will hear: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” And this assurance of divine protection accompanies his servants wherever they may go, in whatever circumstances they may find themselves. The God who overshadows us under his mighty wings shall not allow harm to us. That is why David can say, “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil.”

When you are cognizant of a divine call, a commission by God to accomplish his divine purposes in this world, it does not mean that things will be easy; but that despite the difficulties and hardships of ministry, God will be there, faithfully protecting us through the storms of life. May we in turn confidently set about the work of ministry!

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Micah 6:8

He has shown all you people what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8 TNIV)

In the midst of spiritual confusion, here’s an amazingly clear scripture. So often in my Christian walk I tend to lose focus because of the daily grind of ministry. In three short words, we have a nutshell of what God requires: justice, mercy, humility.

Taking a break from sermon preparation, I find this morning that I need God now more than ever. Not just for inspiration in preparing my weekly messages, and not just so I can be a better minister of His graces.

I just need Him.

I sometimes feel spiritually exhausted. Exhaustion comes from exertion. It comes from working hard at things. And there is so much to do as a Church Pastor that it is easy to get distracted. Distracted from the important things. I need God to remind me of the simple things. I need God like a breath of fresh air after I have been submerged for so long in the study of His Word.

Who would have thought that could become a distraction?

Knowing is not the same as doing. This verse of scripture reminds me of the practical aspect of ministry. And so, today, I don’t want to ‘exegete’ the text. I don’t want to delve into the historical background, the socio-cultural setting, the sitz im leben of Micah. I just want to listen to His voice telling me that He has shown me what He requires. I don’t want to just know this. I want to put it into practice: to act justly in my dealings with my fellow men, to love mercy as I forgive and care deeply for them, and to walk humbly with my God.

Death Be Not Proud

The past few years I have been to several funerals. Most of them were for older persons who had passed away after having lived a comparatively long life. Just a few weeks ago, however, was the first time I attended a funeral for someone younger than me. We had grown up together in Brazil and I have nothing but the most cherished memories of a good childhood friend.

Though the occasion was sad, there was a sense of celebration because she was such a deeply committed Christian. Of course we cried and felt a profound sense of loss because for a little while we have been separated from her. Jesus cried too at the loss of his dear friend Lazarus (John 11:35). And so, even if by faith we know we shall see her again, there is still much sorrow at the loss of a loved one. (more…)

The Stump on the Golf Course

No! I don’t play golf. But there’s a golf course across the street from where I live. I often go there at night. It’s a beautiful place!

There’s a stump on the golf course where I like to sit. It must have been a big tree because it is rather large. I sit there and commune with God. Sometimes I pour out my heart when I’m frustrated and feeling like nothing is working. Other times I just bask in God’s presence and thank (more…)